Learn­ing the Art of Con­ver­sa­tion

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Letters -

‘Can We Talk?’ by Lisa Fields (Art of Liv­ing, June) im­me­di­ately took me back to 1962 when I was a 24-year-old rookie teacher. I was given phi­lately (stamp col­lect­ing) as a sub­ject with which to cap­ti­vate a ver­ti­cal group­ing of stu­dents, rang­ing from 12 to 18 years, who re­fused to choose any of the of­fered recre­ational sub­jects.

None of them col­lected stamps. Nei­ther did I. At our first meet­ing I changed the topic to ‘Con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple you don’t know’. Start­ing the dis­cus­sions with ba­sics, such as sport, mu­sic, dance, books, camp­ing – sub­jects that might in­ter­est a stranger – the class not only be­came hugely pop­u­lar but helped the shy, sat­is­fied the drama queens, and built bridges be­tween the dif­fer­ent grades. CAROL MOR­GAN

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